Royal LePage is participating in an accreditation program to “educate and empower our Realtors and brokers, as well as consumers, on how to make eco-friendly decisions when it comes to the home,” says company president and CEO Phil Soper.
Through various education courses and sales materials funded in part by the Ministry of Energy, Royal LePage real estate agents will be trained by the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) to assess environmental elements within a home and identify properties that adhere to green standards. Royal LePage members who take the NAGAB training will display a special designation logo.
“Few people realize that residential, commercial and institutional buildings represent more than 33 per cent of our total greenhouse gas emissions,” says Elden Freeman, NAGAB founder and executive director, in a news release. “While it is unreasonable to completely reduce carbon dioxide created by homes, there are various practices homeowners can implement, such as installing high-energy efficient windows, doors and insulation, high efficiency furnaces and appliances, and water-conserving fixtures such as showerheads and toilets that will significantly reduce negative effects on the environment.”
NAGAB is a non-profit association of real estate agents committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The association’s Greenrealestate curriculum provides an education and certification program for real estate agents. It has more than 15,000 affiliate members coast-to-coast and has support from major corporate and government sponsors.
Royal LePage recently commissioned Angus Reid Strategies to ask Canadians their opinions about “green” home improvements. It says “green friendly” home improvements will likely yield a solid return on investment come selling time, because almost three-quarters of Canadians say they will look for a green-improved property in their next home purchase, and 63 per cent will be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly home.
The survey found that Canadians are willing to pony up cash for greener home features. Of the majority of Canadians who are willing to pay more for an eco home, 62 per cent are willing to pay between $5,000 and under $20,000 for green features, while eight per cent of respondents are willing to spend $20,000 or more on a home deemed green.
“The mood of Canadian home buyers and sellers is changing with the times – environmental concerns are impacting the decisions people are making about their dwellings. From simple energy conservation efforts to the more elaborate use of organic building materials, the environmentally conscious mindset that our agents are seeing in clients is not a passing trend,” says Soper.
While positive changes are occurring in the general population, there is much work to be done, the company says. More than half (51 per cent) of all survey respondents say they are very concerned about the environment and think we are in dire need of change. Some are not as quick to implement changes. When asked, “What is preventing you from making your home more green?” over half (54 per cent) of respondents said it was too expensive to do, while 15 per cent said they have no idea where to start.
“Canadians need to know that going green can certainly be within their means and within their reach. There are many simple and affordable measures that can lead to big gains for the environment, and many of the practices can actually save homeowners money,” says Soper.
When it comes to describing how green their current lifestyle is, 72 per cent of Canadians say they engage in traditional recycling practices. Making a difference can be as simple as implementing small environmentally friendly practices. The most popular green modifications that poll respondents already implement in their homes include switching from regular light bulbs to CFL light bulbs (74 per cent), adding window and door sealers to prevent heat loss (61 per cent) and switching to high efficiency washers and dryers and using low flow-water fixtures (54 per cent).
When asked, “What is the most influential factor for making your home more or completely green?” 35 per cent of respondents said they are doing it for their children so they inherit a healthy planet; 32 per cent are doing it for the cost savings; and one-quarter are doing it for their health and to have peace of mind that they are living the best they can.
Mature Canadians edge out the younger set when it comes to recycling. Respondents aged 55+ (77 per cent) are more likely than those aged 18 to 34 years (67 per cent) to engage in traditional recycling practices. More women (31 per cent) than men (18 per cent) are going green for their health. Conversely, more men (41 per cent) than women (23 per cent) cite cost savings as the most influential factor for making a change.
Additional poll highlights:
- Atlantic residents are the most likely to pay more, whereas Ontario residents are the least likely to pay more for an eco-friendly dwelling.
- Fourteen per cent of homeowners are already living in an eco-friendly home.
- Seventy-eight per cent believe there is a direct link between the unseasonably warm temperatures and decades of the world’s lack of awareness about the environment. Albertans are the most reticent about such a link, with 68 per cent of respondents from Alberta claiming to see a link, whereas 82 per cent of people in Quebec believe the two elements are related.